In 2022, Kirby Smart handed the keys to the Georgia Bulldogs offense to undersized backup quarterback Stetson Bennett. If there's ever been a moment for a "David vs. Goliath" metaphor, it was at that moment. Now, David has become Goliath, as Stetson Bennett has led the Georgia Bulldogs to back-to-back national championships following their win monstrous win against the TCU Horned Frogs in the 2023 College Football Playoff National Championship game at Sofi Stadium in Los Angeles, California. The final score, 65-7, tells the whole story.
There's becoming a national champion thanks to some late-game heroics like the Dawgs of UGA did in 2022 thanks to Kelee Ringo and then there's the clinical dismantling of an opponent with surgical precision. After a tough matchup in their Peach Bowl semifinal in Atlanta over Ohio State, Georgia finished their season with a statement win that says, "Hey Clemson LSU, Michigan and Nick Saban. We're the top dogs now."
While Heisman Trophy finalist Bennett isn't the first quarterback to overcome incredible odds to lead his team to victory in a national title game and head coach Kirby Smart isn't joining any new head coaching clubs, Georgia football is ascending to one of the greatest and most exclusive lists in college football history. They aren't the first team to go back-to-back, but right now, they're the most recent team to accomplish the feat.
Only Eight College Football Teams Have Ever Won Back-to-Back NCAA National Titles
- Minnesota Golden Gophers: 1940 and1941
- Army Black Knights: 1944 and 1945
- Notre Dame Fighting Irish: 1946 and 1947
- Oklahoma Sooners: 1955 and 1956
- Nebraska Cornhuskers: 1994 and 1995
- USC Trojans: 2003 and 2004* ('04 win was vacated).
- Alabama Crimson Tide: 2011 and 2012
- Georgia Bulldogs: 2022 and 2023
At halftime, all TCU could do was forget the first half and hope that a higher power could send them a touchdown, a field goal, an interception or, at the very least, a fumble. But in the CFP National Championship game, you can't rely on luck. Luck doesn't make ESPN highlight reels.
As the CFP confetti is swept up after Monday night's celebrations, Sonny Dykes and Max Duggan will be left asking, "how did Georgia beat us at every turn? The Bulldogs just had too many answers on defense, and too many weapons on offense as Brock Bowers, AD Mitchell, and Ladd McConkey torched the Frogs' secondary. Javon Bullard and Jalen Carter stifled the Frogs' offense to the tune of seven total points. From the opening kickoff of the game, things were falling Georgia's way. The team from Athens appeared to have more trouble in the SEC Championship than they did in Inglewood.
But that's what great teams do. They make the toughest games look easy through hard work, preparedness and grit.
Go Dawgs. What a season for Georgia. Perhaps 2024 has a back-to-back-to-back Georgia celebration in store. We're sure Nick Saban's already drawing up a plan to make sure that doesn't happen.
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